Bug Catching 101

We’ve all had those moments in our lives when your gut tells you to run and grab a camera, but you don’t, so instead you end up kicking yourself for days over the priceless photo or video footage lost.

Well, when the egrets started chasing the lawn mower, I knew it was going to be one of those moments.

snowy white egret

This is an egret. (Picture courtesy of Google)

egret standing on a car

This is an egret standing on top of a student’s car on campus.
(Picture courtesy of me)

Egrets are funny-looking birds that hunt through the grass on their dinosaur feet looking for bugs. And what is a lawn mower really but a bug-spewing machine?

You have to admit, it is pretty smart for a bird to learn the order in which the campus lawns are mowed and then congregate on those lawns early in the afternoon to wait for the mowers to appear. You see, they know that those noisy contraptions will not only shoot bugs into the air, but also clear away the excess grass, effectively uncovering any tasty morsels still hiding on the ground.

The Mister and I stood outside for about half an hour watching the process. The mowers cut a strip of grass, taking no caution not to run over the watchful birds, and the egrets scurry around the mower catching bugs and trying not to be run over. They know how close the mower can get before they need to run away (which is surprisingly close, seeing as how the Mister and I were very sure a few were going to lose their lives).

What’s REALLY funny, though, is how the birds never expect the mower to go backwards. They know how close they can stand in the front and to the sides and will eagerly run in behind to snatch up bugs once the machine has passed, but when the mower goes in reverse it throws the whole flock into disorder and you can see panic in the ranks. It’s hilarious.

There are also times when the egrets get caught up in a particularly plentiful patch of freshly-mown grass and forget to follow the mower to the other end of the yard. When this happens, one or more of the birds will look up and realize the bug machine has left them behind and will take to the air, flying at full speed toward the unfortunate maintenance man on the mower. Some overshoot their target and have to turn around. Several nearly landed on the man’s head. He caught us laughing at his predicament and just shook his head, clearly understanding that he was part of the entertainment.

So island lesson for last week: Egrets love yard mowing day, but yard mowers do not love egrets. We’re pretty sure he was even trying to run some of them over. But alas, they might not be the smartest birds in the world, but they do know how to scurry frantically away from an approaching lawn mower.

So live to chase another mowing man, egrets. And when you do, I hope to actually have camera in hand to document your antics for the off-island world to see.


Did I Mention Counter Space?

My best friend (“Goose”) and her husband bought their first house this past weekend, and I don’t think I could possibly be happier for them! It’s an adorable starter home, and I cannot even begin to describe how jealous I am that she’s going to have kitchen counter space. And a washing machine. And a giant closet… the list could go on and on.

The new Gunter house. :-)

The new Gunter house. 🙂

But while the Mister and I were flipping through the pictures on Goose’s facebook profile, and he zoomed through the most important images, I realized a very major and important difference between he and I.

“Hey! Go back!”

“Back to what?”

“The kitchen! You didn’t even let me look at the kitchen!”

“It’s just a kitchen.”

“Well that’s just the yard. I don’t care about the yard. I want to look at the kitchen!”

**Blank, confused stare from the Mister**

He didn’t even want to look at the kitchen!!! I was in shock. While I wanted to examine every detail of the countertops, backsplash design, appliances and room layout… he just wanted to flip through and look at the yard. The yard! Yes, a yard is nice and I’m happy they have one, but the kitchen is infinitely more important. To have the cabinets just right, enough counter space the right distance apart, all the proper utilities… how could you NOT be concerned about that???

I can see us now, looking at houses (or even just apartments) someday in the future:

Me: “Oh, honey! Look at the big windows in this kitchen! I love the counter space!”

Mister: “Ok.”

Realtor: “The kitchen appliances are all being included by the owners.”

Me: “Did you hear that, honey? The appliances are included!”

Mister: “Ok. What type of grass is in the yard? Is this area zoned for cows?”

Realtor: “Zoned for cows?”

Me: “Honey, did you see the size of this pantry?!”

Mister: “Yes. Cows. For the yard.”

You see how this is going? There’s going to be a house someday with the perfect kitchen, and we’re not going to buy it because it doesn’t have the right kind of grass or something.

Actually, no, that’s not going to happen. Because if I find the perfect kitchen – or really, at this point, if I find any decent counter space at all – I’m going to duct tape myself to it and refuse to move until it’s mine.

Even if the current homeowners have to cook around me.

(Did I mention Goose is going to have counter space????) 🙂

What did your first home look like? What features does your ideal home have?

**Oh, and a note for last week’s readers: The chicken coop pictured in the blog is not the same coop we found at Tractor Supply Company. The TSC website would not let me steal that picture, so I Googled “fancy chicken coop” and found the one I used. For all the women who have asked my mother-in-law where they can buy that chicken coop (you do realize I was referring to it as a crazy contraption, right?), the one we saw was the same style pictured here: http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/ware-manufacturing-premium-chick-n-barn–nest-box-kit